Orange County's affluence may explain the ranking, but it still seems ridiculous to identify families earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year as members of low-income households. Even more ridiculous is an official policy that is geared to provide subsidized housing for people in that bracket, with practically nothing for poorer people.
But that has been the case in Orange County in recent years. Fortunately, advocates for the homeless and the poor have been pressuring the county to adopt a more realistic program. Their efforts received an added push when the County Planning Commission, in reviewing the 1989 housing element of the General Plan, urged the addition of a "very low-income" category that would cover the significant number of county residents earning $25,000 a year or less.
Last Wednesday, the County Board of Supervisors officially adopted that category. But the board unwisely backed away from another commission recommendation to set a goal of building 1,207 homes and apartments in the next five years for those "very low-income" residents. A commitment to 1,207 homes is a very modest goal, considering that surveys by the Southern California Assn. of Governments place the need for living quarters for those residents at more than 3,000 units in the next five years.